End The Job Killing Gridlock - Vote Democratic
It appears increasingly likely that President Obama will be re-elected. However, the composition of the next Congress is equally important. As we all know, the Republicans in the Congress over the last four years have resorted to unprecedented levels of obstruction to block President Obama's agenda and deny him legislative victories - even if those victories would help the country. Just what has been the Republican Congressional record over the last four years? And what have been the consequences of that record?
What we have seen over the last four years is an unprecedented level of obstruction from the Congressional Republicans and an abuse of the filibuster rules. The use of the filibuster in the Senate has increased since the 1970s. Both parties have been guilty. However, the number of filibusters by Republicans has escalated, and they have been far more willing to use the tactic than their opponents. Since 2007, the Senate Historical Office has shown, Democrats have had to end Republican filibusters more than 360 times, a historic record.
The origins of the Republican efforts to obstruct President Obama's agenda - even at the expense of the American people - began very early in his Presidency. Back in early 2009, Republican leader Rush Limbaugh said that he hoped that President Obama would "fail" and that the 2009 stimulus bill would "prolong the recession."
The Republicans followed Limbaugh's instructions and hatched their scheme to destroy President Obama's Presidency in the Senate even before the President was inaugurated. Vice President Joe Biden has said that during the transition, a number of Republican Senators privately confided to him that Mitch McConnell had given them the directive that there was to be no cooperation with the new administration because he had decided that "we can't let you succeed." Several Republican Senators told Biden that, "For the next two years, we can't let you succeed in anything. That's our ticket to coming back."
Over on the House side, the Republicans began to plot to destroy President Obama's Presidency on the day the President was sworn into office. On January 20, 2009, the House Republican leadership held a private meeting in which they plotted to bring Congress to a standstill regardless how much it would hurt the American economy by pledging to obstruct and block President Obama on all legislation.
The consequences of the Republicans blocking of President Obama's legislative program has had disastrous effects for the country.
As I've discussed here before, the Republicans in the Congress won't allow an up or down vote on President Obama's jobs bill that would create 2 million new jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to 7%. Just yesterday, the Senate Republicans blocked a veterans jobs training bill that would facilitate job training and job opportunities for veterans and has broad bipartisan support.
Senator Bob Kerrey blasted the Senate Republicans saying that: "The blocking of this bill is an outrage. This is a bipartisan bill and the truth is that certain Senators sabotaged it because they do not want to give the President a victory leading into an election. Several Republicans did support this bill but there weren't enough who were willing to prioritize employment programs for our nation's veterans over blatant partisanship. In the U.S. Senate I will put my country ahead of my party every time, on every vote. And I will work with Republicans and Democrats to get the job done."
Senator Johanns was one of the Senators who voted to block the veterans' jobs bill. As a matter of fact, Johanns has been part of the implacable wall of Senate obstruction that has slowed down our economic recovery since it began in early 2010. It's obvious that Senator Johanns would prefer to see people suffer so that his party can regain power.
Over the House side, Fortenberry, Terry and Smith have all been participants in their party's scheme to deny President Obama political victories and slow down our nation's economic recovery. Not once have these Nebraska House Republicans spoken out against these efforts to hurt our economy. It has been party over country for Nebraska's House Republicans over the last four years.
What this all means is that we Democrats need to continue to work hard for President Obama, Senator Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan. Electing Deb Fischer and the Nebraska House Republicans would simply perpetuate the job killing gridlock in Washington, D.C.
Nate Silver of the New York Times recently wrote that the Democrats are likely to retain control of the Senate and that control of the House may be up for grabs this fall. This is not a time for complacency - the Republicans know they are wounded but they will continue to fight hard. We now need to redouble our efforts to send Democrats to Washington so we can make the greatest country in the history of the world even better.
Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.